Your leadership's invisible rudder

What if the key to effective leadership isn't your skills, but your mindset? Delve into the hidden world of beliefs that guide your perceptions and choices. Uncover the tools to identify your own unconscious beliefs and their impact on your leadership style.

Read time: 4.1 min.

👋🏽 Welcome to Inner Frontiers for Outer Impact, a weekly newsletter that provides self-leadership insights that help you develop 4 key leadership capacities: Mindset, Courage, Resilience, & Innovation.

In today's email:

  • 🧠 Mindset Matters: The hidden force shaping your every decision

  • ✅ Belief Breakthrough: Oprah's secret struggle (and how it mirrors yours)

  • 🔍 Belief Excavation: Your DIY guide to self-discovery

  • 🤔 Da Vinci's Insight: Wisdom on the noblest pleasure

Diving into Mindset

What if the key to leading yourself well lies not in your skills or experience, but in your mindset?

Well, buckle up, buttercup. 😉 Mindset is the foundation of effective self-leadership. It shapes:

  • What you perceive

  • How you interpret what you perceive

  • How you make decisions

Your perception, interpretations, and decisions play an outsized role in your outcomes.

Translation: If you want better results, start with mindset.

Today, I want to explore what mindset is, 2 types of beliefs that comprise it, and how you can identify them.

What is Mindset?

Mindset is belief that orients the way you handle situations and/or sort out what is going on.

It shapes how you perceive, interpret, and respond to the world around you. It acts as a lens through which you filter your experiences and make decisions. Your mindset is malleable, but it’s difficult to cultivate something you do not understand.

Let’s start by looking at 2 types of beliefs.

Conscious beliefs are those you are aware of and can articulate.

Unconscious beliefs, however, operate beneath the surface. They influence your behavior without you realizing it. Let’s look at an example in a professional context.

Unconscious Beliefs in Action

Jennifer is an executive known for her micromanaging tendencies.

Her team members report feeling suffocated and demotivated by her constant oversight. As a part of her work with an executive coach, Jennifer participates in a 360-degree feedback exercise. The feedback and coaching work reveal her controlling behavior is rooted in an unconscious belief that if she wants something done right, she needs to do it herself.

This insight prompts her to reassess her leadership style and work with her coach to learn ways to delegate effectively and empower her team.

Exploring the Matrix of Mindset

What experiences or influences have shaped your current beliefs?

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck highlights how early experiences, family dynamics, and education play a significant role in forming your core beliefs and values. These formative experiences create mental models that guide your behavior and decision-making, often unconsciously. Additionally, societal norms, cultural expectations, and organizational culture influence your mindset, both positively and negatively - but often unconsciously.

Quick check-in: What beliefs from your upbringing or social environment are impacting how you lead yourself?

Case Study: Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey’s life offers a good example of both conscious and unconscious beliefs.

Growing up poor, her journey to media mogul was not seamless. Her upbringing, family dynamics, and social conditioning played a significant role in shaping her core beliefs. Those beliefs showed up in how she led herself.

Let’s walk through one example.

During the 25 seasons of the Oprah Show, Oprah often shared about her fear of rejection. She told stories that illustrated how that fear was rooted in difficult childhood experiences. Those experiences birthed beliefs she had about her self-worth.

She explained how she consciously held the belief that she was not good enough.

This belief stemmed from a lack of consistent love and support from her caregivers during early childhood. This belief fueled her fear of rejection, which made her reluctant to put herself in situations where she might be judged or criticized.

Oprah unconsciously held the belief that rejection is personal.

This unconscious belief was rooted in the abandonment and instability she experienced in early relationships with caregivers. While this belief was unconscious to her, it shaped choices she made in relationships as a young adult. Those choices repeated the patterns of abandonment and instability she experienced as a child.

Then, she interpreted the resulting rejection to be confirmation of her personal shortcomings.

Left unchecked, unconscious beliefs can lead to decisions that prevent you from getting the results you say you want.

They limit your perception. It’s like wearing horse blinders while trying to lead yourself (and potentially others). You’ll only see one path, but it may not be the one that leads you to your desired results.

Uncovering and addressing her beliefs empowered Oprah to lead herself in a way that aligned with her desired outcomes. What might it unlock for you?

Quick check-in: How do you start to uncover your unconscious beliefs (the portion of the iceberg that lies beneath the surface)?

Let’s talk how.

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Putting it into Practice

I help clients surface unconsciously-held beliefs in many different ways.

We do this work based on their stated objectives for coaching. First, I develop a detailed road map based on their goals. Then, the client and I work together to co-create sessions that help them unlock new levels of self-awareness and self-leadership.

I use a variety of tools to help them see themselves more clearly.

Here is 1 powerful exercise you can use to start identifying consciously-held and unconsciously-held beliefs:

The "Why, Why, Why" Exercise

  • Start by identifying a belief, behavior, or pattern that you want to explore, such as "I struggle with public speaking."

  • Ask yourself "why" you hold this belief or engage in this behavior.

  • Write down your answer.

  • Then, ask "why" again, probing deeper into the reason behind your initial answer.

  • Continue asking "why" at least 5 times, each time digging deeper into the underlying beliefs and experiences that shape your perspective.

  • By the end of the exercise, you will likely have uncovered some of the core beliefs, often formed in childhood, that influence your current mindset and behavior.

Awareness is power. It reminds you of your agency.

What is possible now? 🤔 

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Parting Words of Wisdom

This quote has extra resonance when you consider the joy that comes from understanding yourself.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.

Leonardo da Vinci

How I Can Help You

🚀 CEO Coaching Programs: Are you a CEO who wants to:

  • Skillfully navigate uncertainty 

  • Lead confidently

  • Drive results

Developing greater leadership capacity in 4 key domains (Mindset, Courage, Resilience, & Innovation) will empower you to do all three.

Book time here to learn about the bespoke 1:1 coaching programs I deliver. During this call, we will talk about your challenges, your goals, and how we might partner to fully “unbound your excellence.”

🎤 Speaking Engagements: My mom can attest to the fact that I LOVE to talk. 😂 Now, I put that talent to work delivering talks on Mindset, Courage, Resilience, & Innovation.

A few past clients include KraftHeinz, Amazon Women @ Payments, PAHEi, & the Panamá Chapter of the International Coaching Federation (I delivered this talk in Spanish).

If you are interested in having me speak at your event, please fill out this form.

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Lead yourself well,